O's game blog: The road trip finale in Detroit

On Saturday afternoon, the Orioles got another quality start from a starting pitcher and they also got another scoreless outing from their bullpen. But their offense produced just four hits and was held scoreless for the second time this season in a 3-0 loss to the Tigers.

The Tigers have won the first two games of this series with the Orioles offense producing just two runs and 12 hits with a couple of solo homers in losing the first two games at Comerica Park.

The Orioles have been swept in three straight games twice this season – both on the road at American League East rivals. In the opening series, they were swept in St. Petersburg, Fla., by the Rays and outscored 15-4. In late April, they lost three in a row at Yankee Stadium by a combined 27-15 score.

When this series began, the Orioles were coming off a series win at St. Louis and had won four of five, six of eight and eight of the previous 12 games. Detroit was 9-23 and had lost three in a row and nine of its previous 10 games. But the fortunes turned for both this weekend and Detroit, which had lost 16 of 19 as play began Friday night, now looks for a third consecutive victory today.

Orioles right-hander Tyler Wells (1-2, 3.75 ERA), coming off back-to-back strong outings, will try to keep that roll going today in the series finale. It’s his seventh start. For the season, he’s yielded 23 hits in 24 innings with four walks to 17 strikeouts. He has a WHIP of 1.125 with a 1.5 walk rate and 6.4 strikeout rate.

In his past two games against Minnesota and Kansas City, he has thrown 11 innings allowing two runs and nine hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. He lowered his ERA from 5.54 to its current mark. The Orioles are 1-5 in his six starts.

Wells is using his fastball a lot less this season, with usage down from 58.6 percent last year to 42 percent now, and his average velocity is 93.8 mph. He is throwing his slider 32 percent of the time, changeup 21 percent and curveball five percent.

Lefty Tarik Skubal (2-2, 2.94 ERA) will make his seventh appearance for Detroit. He is coming off an outing Monday versus Oakland in Game 1 of a doubleheader where he pitched seven scoreless innings on 92 pitches with three walks and five strikeouts. It was his third time allowing zero earned runs. The Tigers are 3-3 in his games.

He has thrown 33 2/3 innings for the season, allowing 32 hits and just two homers with six walks to 34 strikeouts. That has produced a 1.129 WHIP, 1.6 walk rate and 9.1 strikeout rate. Skubal allows a .222 batting average and .482 OPS versus lefty batters and .257/.692 against right-handers.

He is using his fastball just about 50 percent of the time with a velocity of 94.3 mph and throwing his slider 28 percent, changeup 13 percent and curveball nine percent. In three home starts, he is 2-1 with a 2.12 ERA and 1.118 WHIP and has not allowed a homer over 17 innings.

Orioles batters hit five balls with an exit velocity of at least 105 mph yesterday, with all four resulting in outs. Trey Mancini’s flyout in the first inning had an exit velocity of 102.8 with a launch angle of 23 degrees for an expected batting average of .840.

The Orioles return home Monday night to begin a seven-game homestand with four games against the Yankees and three against the Rays. Baltimore has gone 9-7 at Oriole Park this season and 3-1-1 in series play. The O’s own the lowest home ERA in the major leagues with a mark of 2.51, as well as the sixth-best home batting average in the AL at .242. And O’s pitchers have allowed six long balls at home this year, the fewest in the majors. 

Fuller, Hyde on hitting improvements this season
Orioles and Tigers lineups (and notes)
 

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